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The craze for sudoku now seems to be levelling out in the UK, though far from over. As one part of the Guardian’s complete redesign on Monday (which included changing the paper’s size to one called the Berliner, used in continental Europe but not previously in the UK, and putting colour on every page), it decided to go one better by importing another popular Japanese word puzzle.

Kakuro is similar in concept but uses a differently shaped and sized grid, a cross between sudoku and a crossword puzzle, and is based on another US-invented game called Cross Sums. The name is a wonderful example of cross-language fertilisation, created by McKee Kaji, who introduced it to Japan and publishes the puzzles there.

An article in Wednesday’s issue explained: “Kaji named his version kasan kurosu, a combination of the Japanese for ‘addition’ and the Japanese pronunciation of the English word ‘cross’. It was soon abbreviated for marketing effect — becoming the catchier kakkuro, or, in its British incarnation, kakuro.”

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 24 Sep. 2005

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-kak1.htm
Last modified: 24 September 2005.